Monday, January 4, 2010

Mixing Old & New: An $88 Guest Bath Redo!

Expecting a full house over the holidays came with a full list of projects.  My super sweet hubby had already spent a month or two of his very limited 'non-traveling' time helping me check off my many 'To Dos'.  By the time that we got down the list to the guest baths, I'm pretty sure that it went, 'I'm done with projects until after Christmas.  Can we please enjoy the season?'  So, guest bath #1 went from a remodel (originally needed new fixtures and a new vanity, which also meant a new floor) to a super-quick, super-cheap redo.  Yay... isn't super-cheap the best!


Brass.  Can it scream 1989 any more loudly?  My original idea was to replace all of the 'old' with the light and shiny 'newness' of brushed or polished nickel.  But once we decided to forego a new bathroom for now, I had to work with the circa 'Home Alone' decor and embrace the brass.  Rather than attempting the impossible and 'hiding' the fixtures, I bought more brass... if you can't cover it ~ then make it look planned!

$88 later...


Color choice was very specific.  The vanity top has a beautiful yellow hue to it (can you sense the sarcasm?) and I desperately wanted to 'hide' it as much as possible.  A mix of Sherwin Williams Dutch Cocoa, Swing Brown, a hint of Hot Cocoa and... Voila!  Deciding to create a custom color, I bought a sample for $5 which ended up covering the entire room!  (I had to paint the walls with a 3" brush because roller was soaking up too much paint.  This took 8 hours, but was totally worth it since it only cost 5 bucks!)

We added hardware to the formally blank cabinet doors and drawers and also to the medicine cabinet.  I found the ceramic and glass hardware (with brass detail, of course) on sale for $2.95/each...what a steal! All six knobs only cost $18!

Hardware from Anthropologie.

Changing the dirty plastic outlet and light switch wall covers to new brass plates gave the room a 'more solid and complete' feel.  Metal or ceramic covers are an inexpensive way to add a bit of extra flare.  The total for all three plates was around $21.

Switch and outlet wall plates from Home Depot.

I decided to put up this shelf for added dimension.  Although still sold in-stores, this one was scored for $20 at a Pottery Barn outlet!  The bathroom already donned a brass towel bar; However, this fancier $9 'find' with ceramic detail tied in the Anthropologie knobs.  The hand towel we already owned and I pulled the books from hubby's library...shhhh!

'Crown Molding Shelf' from Pottery Barn available in antique white, black or espresso (24"-48" sold for $45-75).   The new towel bar is from Restoration Hardware.

We already had all of the shelf accessories, with the exception of the $5 bath sponges from Target used to the fill Restoration Hardware glass canister.  (I used existing Bath and Body Works body butter, etc to fill the other canister.  Ideally, I would use bars of soap or perhaps an idea that you might have ;)  A bit of 'winter comfort' was added with the oversized cinnamon sticks and the vintage santa photo, torn from one of our Christmas books.

Sponge, puff and loofah from Target (sold as a set for $5).  Antique white frame with linen photo mat from Pottery Barn (marked down to clearance a few months ago, may still be available in some stores).  

Searching and searching for mini topiaries to flank the mirror with no success, I came across these mini trees and loved them.  The symmetry of 'flanking' seems to add poise while the lack of structure in the fullness of the branches keeps the look soft and 'livable'.

Mini pine trees from Lowes for $7 each.  Ceramic pots available at Target starting at $5.

Simple accessories rest on the countertop, with an emphasis on our guests' potential needs.  This square glass jar holds an abundance of cotton swabs - more than a month's stay would need!  (Oh well, it looks cute ;)  I think that a candle and box of matches is usually a good idea in bathrooms too.

This was my 'splurge'... A door knob and lock soap set, on sale for $9.95 at Anthropologie!  Ok, so $10 isn't exactly a big splurge, but I did have a few extra bars of soap at home that I could have used.  Just didn't want to pass this up though... it would have been one of those things that you can't get out of your mind... so you go back to get it and it's gone!  Whew!  Glad that I 'took the plunge'... I think that it's my favorite part of the room now!

A drawer of essentials portrays additional comfort for our guests.  Extra bath accessories from around the house provided this 'home' for cottons pads, a couple of bars of soap and some extra matches.  These marble tumblers and the soap dish were also clearance finds at PB a few months ago.

I threw in some extra cinnamon sticks for a subtle yet festive linen closet scent.

And an evening candlelit bath takes the stress away!  (When can the host hop in there?)

One last look at our new 'old' bathroom...

Now that I have more time on my hands, I'm thinking about changing up the decor and planning out the bathroom theme.  Maybe adding a touch of lace?  Or some clocks (perhaps a 'guest back-home time vs. vacation time' display)... hmmm... guess my dining table can give them up since New Years is over.  What would you do?

Thanks so much for embracing the brass with me.  I would love love love all of your suggestions and ideas!

Until tomorrow ~


  1. I LOVE the paint color! it's a great color, and such a daring choice for a small space. Great Job! :)

  2. I think the brass looks great! It's totally back and sometimes it just works in a room. With everything that you did it just came together in a lovely way.

    I love all the small touches!

    Perfect job!

  3. Smart to build around what you had already to work with. The brass doesn't date the room once everything else is dated. It looks incredible. Especially love the paint color and the little touches that tie it together.

  4. Wow that is really inspiring. I desperately need to redo my bathroom but of course don't have the cash! I'm going to try to update it with a few quick tips as well. I hope it turns out as nice as yours did!

  5. Looks great Jo! I'm so impressed :)

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